New Delhi’s air pollution hit dangerous levels as India celebrated Diwali this year. The city experienced its worst nightmare with level of PM2.5 tiny particles suspended in the airalong with the low visibility mostly due to smoke, dust and not to forget the pollution from the firecrackers. Even after the festive frenzy of bursting firecrackers came to an end for almost over a week, people in Delhi are every day, waking up to misty mornings.
With the winters just around the corner, while some are trying to dismiss the sudden change in the atmosphere as fog, we really can’t deny the truth — the adverse consequences of the noise and air pollution that our reckless cracker-bursting during Diwali caused. The other means that are adding to the damage are burning of stubble in paddy fields to prepare them for the next harvest in the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, emissions from vehicles, industries using coal for power and dust from construction activities and movement of vehicles. The burning of trash, which can contain plastic, rubber and metal items and gives off toxic emissionsis also adding to Delhi’s own air pollution. But things are so worst now that people can actually see and smell the pollution the moment they are stepping out. Which is why, it is absolutely important now to take the necessary measures that will ensure youand your dear ones don’t get affected by respiratory problems and other breathing troubles.
1. Be comfortable in antipollution masks – The pollution level has gone to such an extreme level, that plain masks won’t be of much help. To avoid the chocking pollutants, you need the high-tech masks with filters to stave off smaller particles. Even then, experts are suggesting that the masks aren’t equipped to filter poisonous gases like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone, which are all on the rise right now. But still to filter out as much pollutant possible, it’s a step worth taking.
2. Strike out exercising outdoor – If need be, avoid outdoor exercising for now, at least till the pollution level lowers. Exercising accelerates the flow of air pollutants into your lungs and to the rest of your body, increasing the chances of respiratory ailments. If you still can’t do without your daily jog or walk, go to parks or gardens that are at least 500 meters away from the road.
3. Don’t go outdoors at night– The city’s pollution varies depending on the area and traffic patterns, but in general the coldest temperatures (duringnight-time) create the highest levels of pollution because of inversion, which traps pollutants from cars and factories under a blanket of warm air. So avoid going outdoors at night.
4. Stay indoor as much as possible – Now, we know that’s a difficult thing to religiously follow. But try and operate things as much as possible from home. Like you take the provision of working from home, avail delivery services for day-to-day commodities etc. It’s also crucial for your kids to stay indoor as they are the ones who can get more affected than the adults. Closure of kindergartens, primary and middle schools is one of the steps that should be taken by the school authorities during this time.
5. Take a break from the city – Weekends are the best time to get out of town. Escaping its poisonous air for couple of days won’t be that bad. Experts say that air pollution levels shoot up five to six times during winter. It will probably be especially bad this time around. So traveling just a few hours out of Delhi will give get you lungful of fresh air.
6. Buy HEPAair purifiers – As pollution is becoming a growing concern, Delhiites are loading their homes with air purifiers and why not, after all a well-designed air purifier with a HEPA filtercan remove 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns from the air. It can not only remove airborne contaminants and pollutants but promote asthma relief, as well as many other important health benefits.Already some high-end private schools and offices have installed central air purifiers, but most of Delhi’s schools and offices have not. They should sign up for air purifiers to provide a pollution free environment to kids and adults who spent maximum time of the day out there.
These were few measures you can take to safeguard yourself from the hazardous pollution affecting the city.